Soyeun Choi stashed this in Nature
Sorry. I'm so, so sorry. (Post about Cordyceps. Gross. And interesting.)
Interesting is always good. Gross, I'm learning to develop a thicker skin for.
I know, right? Mother Nature has a way of just smooshing the two together.
Soyeun, I live for your spidery images. What's going on with this creature?
You made me smile Geege! Thanks!
As if healthy pictures of spiders weren't horrifying enough, Cordycep infections are worse. Cordyceps are fungi that attack insects. There are many different kinds and they specialize so that the spider has its own, moths have theirs, etc. The spores infect the insect and take over the brain. Then, when mature, the fungi just grow straight out of the body. That is depicted in the picture. They then release more spores.
If an ant is infected, other ants will move it out of the way of the colony because they know the spores will infect everyone else.
Reminded me a little of this poor guy:
I saw that story! Incredible.